After a rally in Derry, New Hampshire, Sen. Elizabeth Warren expressed her condolences to reporters about the minority women working on her campaign team in Nevada who said they felt like tokens, according to the Washington Examiner.
“So I just heard about this and I believe the women who have spoken up and believe them unequivocally and I apologize to them personally. It’s important to me to try and build and organization that is diverse and inclusive and open and lets everyone bring their whole self to work every day,” Warren told WBTS.
“But I recognize that the legacy of racism and oppression pervade everything that we do in this country and so for me this is about taking personal responsibility which I do and being determined that we will have accountability in this organization and keep doing better everyday,” she added.
Three of the six women said the campaign made them feel marginalized and that in some cases it even worsened after they expressed concerns to higher-ups and the human resources team.
“During the time I was employed with Nevada for Warren, there was definitely something wrong with the culture,” Megan Lewis, a field organizer who left in December, told Politico. “I filed a complaint with HR, but the follow-up I received left me feeling as though I needed to make myself smaller or change who I was to fit into the office culture.”
Another field organizer who recently left the campaign echoed similar concerns in a separate interview with Politico.
“I felt like a problem — like I was there to literally bring color into the space but not the knowledge and voice that comes with it,” the unnamed woman said.
“We all were routinely silenced and not given a meaningful chance on the campaign,” she continued. “Complaints, comments, advice and grievances were met with an earnest shake of the head and progressive buzzwords but not much else.”
The third woman who recently departed the campaign agreed with those statements and said that her experience was very similar.
Politico reached out to the other three women for comment, but has not received a response.
Rolling Stone reported that after Lewis heard Warren’s response to what the women said about their experience on her campaign team, she said that she was again excited to “caucus for her.”
“I think it’s a great response. I appreciate her apology. I love Elizabeth Warren and I’m more excited than ever to caucus for her.”
According to Politico, the three women who spoke with reporters about their issues with the Warren campaign didn’t open up about it with malicious intent, but because they felt that it might be a common issue in other campaign organizations that would be resolved only if they were heard.
“Every election will always be the most important election of our lifetimes,” Lewis told Politico. “Organizing culture needs to change because the fact is our well-being is more important than any election. I hope this starts a conversation that helps facilitate personal reflection about ways we can change campaign culture.”
“We’ve taken steps that may not be something that is typical or has happened a lot before in presidential campaigns to try to empower staffers at all levels to be able to speak to their experiences to raise concerns and to have these tough conversations, and they are tough in every organization in our country,” Buttigieg told reporters in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Warren’s candidacy can probably endure little additional controversy, as she appears to be clearly behind Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders among Democrats after the Iowa caucuses.
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